The Browns and Steelers get together on Sunday, seven weeks (and 70 minutes) after playing to a draw in Week One. A pair of defensive players who arrived in Cleveland via round one of the 2017 draft provided the same answer when asked on Friday whether the rematch entails a sense of unfinished business: “Absolutely.”
“You do not know who is the better out of the two yet,” Garrett said. “We have to finish it off and see who wins round two.”
“I definitely feel like we let them sneak out of here,” Peppers added. “We fought all of the way back, but it should not have even been that if we did what we were supposed to do from the get go. We are just going to go over there focused, ready to go, hungry. They are coming off of a bye week so they will probably have a couple of wrinkles and things we probably have not seen on tape yet. For the most part, we know what we are going to get. We know what their guys are. We know what we have to do to win. It is just about going to battle.”
During the last battle, the Browns created six turnovers. Can they do it again?
“That is the goal,” Garrett said. “Six turnovers is a lot, but I think that it is doable. Just have to keep on getting after [quarterback Ben Roethlisberger].”
Both players also see the game as pivotal to the season of a 2-4-1 team that has been in position to win six of its seven games.
“For our season and our momentum, we have to come back and punch them in the mouth,” Garrett said. “It is definitely a big game for us as it is for them — all division games are. We have to be on our p’s and q’s.”
Said Peppers: “You could not write this story any better. Coming off of a tough loss — three tough losses. Two of those, I think, we should have had, but that is the way the ball rolls some times. They are top of the division. We tied them at our place the first game of the season. Now, we get a chance to go up to their place. It is set up perfectly. Get this bad taste out of our mouths and start this run.”
They’re both right. There’s a huge difference between 3-4-1 and 2-5-1. And if the Browns are going to be true contenders in 2018, they need to find a way to come home from the confluence of three rivers with that third win.